Yes, my name really is Lagusta. It’s not a nom de chef referring to the joys of eating with gusto, French spiny lobsters (les langoustes), or the Spanish verb for “to like” – it’s the kind of name you get when your parents are hippies who met in the mud at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. It’s pronounced with a GUS in the middle, most emphatically not a GOO.
I’m a restless rabble-rousing chef-turned-chocolatier who’s in love with deep flavor, ethical sourcing, farmers, the food poor people around the world have always eaten, lactic acid fermentation, and noodles. I really love noodles.
I live in a little 1960s sunny ranch house in the tiny farm-focused town of New Paltz, NY with my sweetheart of 16 years, Jacob, and my three cats, Sula, Noodle (told ya), and Cleo.
I went to cooking school (the Natural Gourmet Cookery School Chef’s Training Program in New York City), but the hierarchical restaurant world is a little too much for a feministy woman like me. I worked for about a decade with my mentors at Bloodroot, a gourmet 36-year-old feminist-vegetarian restaurant and bookstore in Connecticut (one of them came up with “Lagusta’s Luscious” as a name for my company, about a decade ago–little did I know it would make bank tellers and post office clerks think I was a secret porn actress forever…). I’ve baked at Souen macrobiotic restaurant in New York City, and I’ve done endless private cooking jobs around New York and New Jersey.
I am also an occasional guest chef at the Natural Gourmet’s Friday Night Dinners, where I direct 12 chef’s training students in preparing a gourmet, 4-course meal for up to 100 diners, as well as Joshua Katcher’s Gracious Gourmand supper club in Brooklyn.
From 2002-2010 I ran a wildly successful (if I do say so myself) teeny tiny vegetarian home meal delivery service bringing handcrafted meals featuring local produce to New Yorkers from Battery Park to Woodstock. If you want to see photos of what I used to cook for my clients, I’ve got plenty of photo-heavy quantity-cooking posts packed with recipe ideas and inspiration–check ‘em out!
In 2011 I became a full-time chocolatier with my own line of truffles, Bluestocking Bonbons (all named for fascinating women!), bars, barks, caramels, and more.
And now, after years of cooking in dinky rented kitchens, Jacob and I renovated a former laundromat in downtown New Paltz to become a tiny little chocolate shop. We opened on June 28, 2011, and every single day has been amazing. Even that day we found a pistol in the rafters when renovating and had to call the police.
Now that I’m no longer cooking for others every week, I’m excited to rediscover the joy of cooking for myself, my sweetheart, and our friends. (Hello, dinner parties!) Likewise, this blog is transitioning from being a professional blog for my meal delivery service to a journal of my culinary curiosity. Like most chefs, I’m not a huge fan of recipes—but foodie photos, farmer’s market finds, fruit, food politics, and food-related inspiration of all stripes, savory and sweet, is what makes my mouth water. Maybe yours too? Hello, then!
PS: Not afraid of swears? Interested in far-left ranting, notes from the culture wars, the occasional vintage dress and a feminist manifesto thrown in now and then for good measure? You might enjoy my personal blog, which is right about here.